Korean War in Color: A Correspondent's Retrospective on a Forgotten War
In John Rich’s “Korean War in Color: A Correspondent's Retrospective on a Forgotten War,” published by Seoul Selection to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, the renowned war correspondent breaks down this barrier with a jaw-dropping collection of color photographs of the Korean War, perhaps the finest collection of color images of the conflict anywhere. In vivid hues of blue, green and red, Rich’s photographs take the war out of the history books, allowing readers to better connect with a conflict that, while forgotten, continues to impact the lives of Koreans to this day.
KOREAN WAR IN COLOR Photographs by John Rich A Correspondent's Retrospective on a Forgotten War Copyright � 2010 by John Rich All Rights Reserved No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher. Published by Seoul Selection B1 Korean Publishers Association Bldg., 105-2 Sagan-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul 110-190, Korea Tel: 82-2-734-9567 Fax: 82-2-734-9562 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.seoulselection.com ISBN: 978-89-91913-64-6 06910 Printed in the Republic of Korea Contents Forewords Prologue vi x 1 32 60 120 150 184 221 228 235 MeMories & Faces a country in ruins in the Line oF Fire Weapons oF War a resiLient peopLe an uneasy truce AboutJohnRich InHisOwnWords Acknowledgments "one lives in the hope of becoming a memory." -AntonioPorchia xii Memories & Faces 1 THE WAR BEGINS In the early morning hours of June 25, 1950, North Korea launched a surprise attack on South Korea, the start of a three-year war that would be the first armed conflict of the Cold War. Armed with Soviet-made tanks and fighter planes, the North Koreans took the South Korean capital of Seoul in just three days. By August, they had pushed the beleaguered South Koreans and Americans all the way to the Nakdonggang River, where the defenders waged a desperate defense to maintain a toehold on the Korean Peninsula. *A Korean boy stands on the remains of a Russianbuilt North Korean Yak fighter plane, which ruled the skies during the first weeks of the war. Although the North Korean People's Army proved a formidable adversary on the ground, the US Air Force, formerly known as the Army Air Corps in World War II, soon gained total air superiority. 2 3 4 AMERICA ENTERS THE WAR At the request of the South Korean government, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution to send military aid to South Korea, and US ground troops were sent into the conflict. The first US troops arrived in Busan on July 1. During the course of the war, the US would deploy ground troops, marines, naval forces and air power. In fact, the United States would account for 50.3% of UN ground troops, 85.9% of naval power and 93.4% of air power. When all was said and done, a total of 1,789,000 US servicemen were deployed to the Korean theater; 36,940 were killed, 92,134 wounded, 3,737 went missing and 4,439 were taken prisoner. *US Marines take a brief break outside Busan before going into battle. The marines proved highly effective troops at the Pusan (Busan) Perimeter and in the Inchon (Incheon) Landing and the battle for Seoul, and 5 at the Chosin (Changjin) Reservoir they would write another epic page of history. For these men, the hellish winter fighting was still to come. ARMORED WARFARE Although Korea was a mountainous country with few paved roads at the time, tanks nonetheless played a major role in the war. North Korea's Soviet-made T-34 medium tanks--used to such great effect against the Germans in World War II--dominated the early battlefield, as South Korea's tank-less army and US troops initially lacked the firepower to stop the beasts in their drive towards Busan. As the war ground on, however, UN forces equipped themselves with newer, more effective anti-tank weapons and brought to the battlefield heavy-hitting tanks of their own, including American M4 Shermans, M26 Pershings, M46 Pattons and British Cromwell and Centurion tanks. Unlike in World War II, there were few large-scale tank battles--Korea's terrain simply did not allow for it--but the tank proved enormously effective as an infantry support weapon. *American soldiers crouch atop one of a M46 Patton while Korean children look on. The brightly colored fabric on the turret may be air recognition panels. 12 13 SEOUL RECAPTURED On Sept 28, 1950, UN troops--led by US Marines and the US 7th Infantry Division--liberated the South Korean capital of Seoul, just 15 days after the successful Inchon (Incheon) Landing. Over the course of the Korean War, Seoul changed hands no fewer than four times, leaving the city badly battered and much of its population homeless. *South Korean children in early 1951, shortly after the UN Command recaptured Seoul. The cityscape here is relatively undamaged, but some districts, such as the Ewha and Yonsei university areas (part of the North Korean main line of resistance) were virtually razed as US marines employed massed firepower to blast the entrenched enemy from 16 their positions. The military-style school uniforms worn by these children were a remnant of the Japanese colonial period. City Hall, in the background, still stands today. 17 32 A Country in Ruins 33 36 a spate of US bombings, railway tracks leading to Seoul Station lie in a state of ruin. After 37 How I First Heard About the War in Korea lovely beach at Kugenuma Kaigan in Japan. During the early years of the occupationinJapan,agroupofcorrespondentssharedahousenearthebeach thathadbeensparedfromthefirebombraids.KeyesBeechoftheChicagoDaily News and I were the only ones there that day. Keyes beat me to the inviting Japanesewoodenhotbathandwasinitwhenourphonerang.Thephonewas hungonawallinaclosetatstandinglevel,andthemouthpiecewasheadhigh. Ipulledthereceiveroffthesideofthemachineandsaid`moshimoshi.'Onthe phone was my boss in Tokyo, Howard Handelman of the International News Service.Herecognizedmyvoiceandsaid,`Rich,getyourfannybacktoTokyo. TheNorth Koreanshave justattackedtheSouth!' When I passed theword to Keyes,thatendedhishotbath,andInevergotmine.Wepiledintoourjeepsand headedforTokyo. InTokyo,theUSwireserviceshadbeengivenspacebytheoccupationforce intheoldRadioTokyobuilding,justdownthestreetfromtheImperialHotel. Normallytheofficeswereclosedduringthenight,butonthisnight,INSmovedin acot,andthatcotremainedthereforthedurationoftheKoreanWar.Fromthat Sundayon,allthenewsofficesweremannedbyreportersaroundtheclock. FromWashington,PresidentHarryTrumanorderedGeneralMacArthurinto action, and MacArthur flew to Korea to observe the evacuation of American militarydependentsfromKoreaeitherbyshipfromIncheonHarbororbyplane fromGimpoAirport,closertoSeoul.MacArthurtookwithhimthethreeheads of the American Wire Services: Russell Brines of the Associated Press, Earnest HoberechtoftheUnitedPressandHowardHandelmanoftheInternationalNews Service.Upontheirreturn,HandelmanorderedmetoKorea,andItookatrainto thesouthernportofFukuoka.There,artilleryunitsfromtheUSoccupationforce werealreadyboardingshipstocrossthestraitstothesouthernKoreanportof Busan.Italkedmywayaboardone--anLST(LandingShip,Tank)--andheaded across the straits to Busan in South Korea. It was carrying the first American artillerytoreachthecountryandholdbacktheCommunistforces." "It was a Sunday morning and we had just walked back from a swim on the 38 Destroyed sections of the Hangang Bridge, a year after retreating South Korean forces had detonated explosives on the bridge as a deterrent against the advancing North. It was one of the war's earliest tragedies: between 500 and 800 people were killed when the bridge was blown. 39 In the Line of Fire 60 61 A platoon emerges from a forest. Trees were a rarity. Much of the peninsula had been deforested, giving the battlegrounds an austere, barren look. 72 Dead Chinese Men forcesmadeastandsouthoftheHanRiver.OnefrigidnightIjoinedtheUS 25th Division somewhere south of Suwon, 25 miles below the Han River. Some action was obviously expected, because when we prepared to bed downinanemptyhouseclosetodivisionheadquarters,weweretoldtosleep withourbootson(asifanysleepwaspossible).Allnight,therewasgunfire nearby,andAmericantanksrolledupanddowntheroadoutsidethebuilding wherewestayed.Itwasasleeplessnightwithshotscracklingallaroundus. Inthemorning,ataschoolhouseonlyafewbuildingsaway,wefounddead Chinesesoldierslyinginsideandonthegroundoutside.Ithadbeenawild battle,theChinesehadobviouslylost,andthatincident,Ithink,wastheir mostsoutherlypenetrationinKorea." "After the communists retook Seoul in January 1951, the retreating UN Two dead Chinese "volunteers" after a skirmish in a schoolhouse south of the city of Suwon. This was in 25th American Division territory and probably the farthest point of Chinese advancement after entering the Korean War and driving back the UN forces. 73 General MacArthur, Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, climbs aboard a jeep. Behind him is General Walton Walker, who was killed a short while later in his own jeep when it was hit by a cargo truck. Walker, the first US ground commander to defend South Korea, is commemorated in modern Seoul in an unusual manner for a general. The US Army Rest and Recreation Center was named after him in the 1960s, and the center was later handed over to South Korea and transformed into a hotel, today's Sheraton Walker Hill Hotel and Casino. 106 Three key leaders in the Korean War--from left to right, General Matthew Ridgway, General James Van Fleet and General Mark Clark. Note the hand grenade attached to Ridgway's equipment--his trademark, and a highly unusual accoutrement for a general. General Van Fleet (right) stands beside a press train where correspondents lived during peace talks. On the left is correspondent Linda Mangelsdorf Beech. 107 120 Weapons of War 121 124 The American battleship Iowa maneuvers off the Korean coast. During World War II, the battleship served as 125 a presidential shuttle in the Atlantic Fleet, moving President Roosevelt to and from the Tehran Conference. During the Korean War, the Corsair was used mostly in the close support role, and its gull wing proved to be a useful feature. 136 A-1 Skyraiders prepare for launch. They became the backbone of US Navy aircraft carrier and US Marine Corps (USMC) strike aircraft sorties in the Korean War. 137 150 A Resilient People 151 152 "A load on the head and a baby on the back" is how the author summarized this picture of a wartime marketplace in Seoul. 153 154 Women in Namdaemun Market carrying basketloads of produce. These two women are wearing the traditional white clothes Koreans had worn for centuries; Koreans used to call themselves the Baegui Minjok, the "white-clad people." 155 Students of Changduk Girls' High School and others celebrate President Syngman Rhee's second-term inauguration on August 15, 1952. 166 Despite the war, commemoration of Korea's Independence Day, a date that coincided with President Rhee's 1952 inauguration, takes place in the area surrounding the Capitol Building, or Jungang-cheong. 167 184 An Uneasy Truce 185 186 Insamgwan in Gaeseong, near the venue where armistice talks were held, was provided as a rest area for the UN Command side. Generals of the UN Command on the first day of peace talks in Gaeseong, July 1951. The meeting and others to follow would end in stalemate, until the signing of the Armistice in 1953. From right to left, Major General Paik Sun-yup of the Republic of Korea Army, Colonel Lee Soo-young, Rear Admiral Arleigh Burke and Major General Henry Hodes of the 8th Army. 187 North Korean Gen. Nam Il arrives for an early session of peace talks held at Gaeseong. 188 189 220 About John Rich 221 eabody Award-winning reporter John Rich has participated in or reported on all of America's20thcenturywarssinceWorldWarI.In1939hebeganhisnewscareeras a reporter for the dailyKennebec Journal in Augusta,Maine and thenmovedto the PortlandPressHeraldinhishometownofPortland,Maine. HecoveredhisfirstwarstoryfiveweeksbeforePearlHarbor,whenheinterviewedsurvivors of the US destroyer Reuben James, which had sailed north from Portland escorting LendLeasecargoforBritain.ItwastorpedoedandsunkintheicywatersoffIcelandbyaGerman submarine.ThesurvivorswerebroughtbacktoPortland. In1942,RichenlistedintheNavyandstudiedforafullyearattheNavalJapaneseLanguage SchoolattheUniversityofColoradoinBoulder.UpongraduationhejoinedtheUSMarine CorpsandmadefourcombatD-Daylandingsduringthewar,onKwajalein,Saipan,Tinian, andIwoJima. Afterthewar,hewenttoworkforWilliamRandolphHearst'sInternationalNewsService andwasimmediatelysenttoTokyo.TherehemetandinterviewedGeneralMacArthurand traveledwithEmperorHirohito,afterthelatterhadrenouncedhisdivinityand,ontheadvice ofMacArthur'soccupationofficials,begantoleavethepalacetovisithissubjectsinmany partsofJapan. TheINSsentRichtoShanghai,wherehewasreportingwhenthecityfelltothecommunists. HeescapedonanAmericangunboatdowntheHuangpuRiverandspentsomedaysonan AmericandestroyeranchoredintheYangtzeRiver,untilhecaughtarideonaseaplaneflying to Qingdao, which had been completely surrounded by Chinese communist troops. The communistsdidnottrytoenterthecitywhiletheAmericanfleetwasanchoredthere.Rich eventuallyreturnedtoJapanonanAmericancruiser. JohnRichwasinTokyowhentheKoreanWarbeganandwenttoKoreathefirstweekofthe fighting.Forthenextthreeyearshecoveredthewar,alongerperiodthananyotherAmerican newscorrespondent.InDecember1950heleftINStojoinNBCNews. AfterthesigningofthearmisticeinKorea,RichspentayearonafellowshipattheCouncil onForeignRelationsinNewYork.In1954NBCsenthimtoEuropetoheaditsbureauinthe dividedcityofBerlin.AfterfouryearsthereandsometimeinMoscow,hewasmovedtoParis andthen,withhiswifeandfoursmallchildren,returnedtoTokyo.WhilehewasinTokyo, AmericaneffortstoaidtheFrenchinVietnamfinallyledtofullAmericaninvolvementandthe VietnamWar.FromhisbaseinTokyo,RichwasinandoutoftheVietnamfightingforafull tenyears. InhisfinalyearswithNBChebecametheirSeniorAsianCorrespondentbasedinTokyo.After that,hewasappointedaVicePresidentfortheRCACorporation,whichownedNBCNews.He nowlivesinthehouse,onthecoastofMaine,wherehewasbornonAugust5,1917. P 222 Rich in Seoul shortly after the UN Command's recapture of the capital in 1951. "That's the top of the press building," he pointed out. 223 In His Own Words An Interview with John Rich * This interview took place at John Rich's summer house in Vero Beach, Florida, on February 21, 2010. Your career took you to key locations of 20th century history. How would you summarize the last century in terms of your eyewitness experience? Veryrough,verytough.IwasbornduringWorldWarI.IthinkIhavebeenineverywar--either beeninitorcovereditasacorrespondent--sinceWorldWarI.IwasinWorldWarIIandI wenttoJapan,andtheKoreanWarstartedshortlythereafter.AndthenVietnamfollowedthat. Then,ofcourse,therewastroubleinnorthernIndia,andIwasinAfrica,theCongo.Soinmy ownlife,Iask,"Nowwhendidthathappen?WasthatthewarinAfrica?No,no,thatwasthe KoreanWar."(laughs)SoIkindofcovermyownhistorytofindwhatIwasdoingatacertain timebyasking,"WhatwarwasIcovering?"Butyes,itwasjustwar,war,war. You were a correspondent covering the Korean War during those years of conflict. Where were you located during the war, in chronological order? Well, I was in the Pacific War as a Marine, and when I got out, I found a job at the InternationalNewsServiceandwentrighttoTokyo.Andthen,notsolongafterIgotthere,a coupleofyears,theKoreanWarbrokeout.AndsinceIwasinJapan,Iwasthefirstonefrom mycompanytogoin.AndIwentintheveryfirstweekoftheKoreanWarandstayedthe wholethreeyears!IwastherelongerthananyotherAmericanreporter,goingbacktoJapan everycouplemonthsforaweekorso. 228 When did the first peace talks begin? Whentheystartedtalkingpeace,duringtheKoreanWar,itwasveryrough.Beforethetalks, they(thecommunists)drovetheKoreanandAlliedforcesrightbacktoaroundBusan,andwe werealmostdrivenoffthepeninsula.Butthenwedrovebackup.Andthen,aroundJanuaryof '51,therewouldbethesestoriesabout,well,maybesomebodysaidwe'llhavetotalkpeace,in anarmistice,somethinglikethat.Thewarwasjustgoingonandon. TheChinesecameinquiteearlyinthewar,inSeptember1950,anddrovetheforcesthat werethere,andcapturedSeoul.IthinkSeoulfelltwiceduringthewar.Iremembertheycame alittlesouthtoSuwon,andIwasthereonenight.IhaveapictureofdeadChinese--therehad beenaskirmishintheschoolhouse.SotheChinesecameinandpushedbackagain. ThenGeneralRidgway--hewasaquiteageneral.HepulledtogetherthatAmerican,UN army,andstartedpushingnorth.Andthentheypushednorth,andtheothers,theypushed south.So(laughs)that'swhytheGIscalleditthe`yo-yowar.' This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, and many observations of the occasion will take place in the Republic of Korea. Could you tell us, for our Korean readers, your general impressions of the Koreans, the South Koreans, during your time in Korea? I wish we had as much support from other allies as we did from the Koreans. They were wonderful,absolutelybehindus.Andyouknow,what'shappenedinsomeothercountries-- theydidn'tsupport,andfoughtagainst,Americans.ButtheKoreansweresolidlybehindus. AndIjust,well,learnedalotaboutKorea,andwhatIlearnedmadememoreimpressedbythe Koreans,theKoreanpeople.Theyareagoodallytohave.Then,ofcourse,whenwegotinto Vietnam,theKoreanssentadivisionormoretohelpusinVietnam.Itwasquiteinteresting-- insuchashorttimeKorealifteditselfupandmadeawonderfularmy.Veryimpressive. These photographs are a relatively recent discovery, because you had kept them in a tea chest for all these years. Could you just tell us the experience of rediscovering the film you took? Ibroughtcolorfilm,andtheprofessionalswerenotshootingincolorfilm.Theircompanies athomecouldnothandleit,sotheyshotitinblackandwhite.SoIgotinearlywithmycolor film,andIjustshotit.I'dsendittoKodak,andthey'dsendbackthelittleyellowenvelope withthetransparenciesinthem.I'dlookatthem,andeventuallyIputtheminaJapanesetea chest,whichistin-lined,andleftitthere.Wetookitwhereverwewent,Icanrememberhow many years! One day I opened it up and the pictures were perfect, not deteriorated at all, fiftyyearslater.That'showtheywerepreserved,andwhenIgotthemout,Isaid,"MyGod." Anditwasforallthreeyearsofthewar,becauseIwasthereforthewholethreeyears:the beginning,themiddle,fighting,andthelong,dragged-outpeacetalks. 229 Credits Publisher Photographsby Writtenby Interviewby Editedby Copy-Editedby Designedby Additionalphotographsby KimHyung-geun JohnRich JohnRichwithElizabethShim,AndrewSalmon,RobertKoehler ElizabethShim LeeJin-hyuk ColinA.Mouat,ElizabethShim JungHyun-young MarcMatsumoto 60,000 won / US$ 85.00